Have you ever wondered why some companies see consistent sales year after year while others struggle to attract new customers and close deals? Enter the sales cycle – the secret to practically every success story. Explaining the sales cycle is quite simple. It’s basically a series of stages that a salesperson must go through in order to close a sale and gain a new customer. Sales teams use them as a framework to tell them what to do next. Read on to discover more about sales cycles and why every business should use them.
What Is A Sales Cycle?
As we mentioned, sales cycles are a series of stages or actions that sales teams follow in order to close each sale. They provide a roadmap for selling products and services with specific reference points that salespeople can use to guide them through the entire process of selling – right up to successfully closing the sale, retaining the customer and generating new prospects through referrals.
A sales cycle has 7 stages with each stage working to move the prospect further along towards making a purchase and eventually closing the sale.
What Are The Stages Of A Sales Cycle?
Prospecting For Leads
Identifying potential prospects is the first stage of the sales cycle and probably the most important. After all, in order to sell something – you need customers! The key is finding the right customers to sell to. This involves research. Start by learning everything there is to know about your product or service to help you identify who will most benefit from what you have to sell. Use LinkedIn, read news stories and check up on referrals to put together a buyer persona and fill your pipeline with prospects who are likely to buy from you.
The next stage is to make contact with prospects. This can involve reaching out to them over social media, shooting off an email, calling them or meeting face-to-face. Introduce yourself and where you are from before explaining the product or service you are offering and how it can benefit them. This stage is all about establishing a connection and should end by asking whether the prospect would like more information.
Now is the time to learn more about each prospect to determine whether they are a good fit for a sale or not. A discovery call is a great way to do this. During this call, aim to find out as much about the prospect as possible, including their business, their unique needs, whether they are the decision-maker and if your product can help to solve their problems.
Presenting The Product
Once you’ve narrowed down the prospects, it’s time to present your product or service. This may involve using a pitch template that can be customised for each prospect. A presentation will generally involve showcasing your goods to a team of decision-makers at the prospect’s company and answering questions from any key stakeholders.
Dealing With Any Objections
This is the stage where you will need to deal with and overcome any objections. As any salesperson will know, objections are a natural part of the sales process as even the most interested prospects are likely to have some hesitations about buying the product. Common objections include the price being too high, product or service issues, business challenges and terms not being quite right for them.
Closing The Sale
With all objections overcome, it’s time to close the sale. You have a few options, depending on how the previous stages played out. If the prospect is extremely keen, you can be direct. If they have been less enthusiastic throughout the sales cycle, you’ll need a subtler approach. Try circling back to your main points and reminding them of all they ways your product or service will benefit them and make their life easier. Remember that closing a sale can actually take weeks or months and it isn’t completed until the prospect makes a purchase or decides to no longer proceed with the sale.
Following Up And Generating Referrals
The hardest part may be over but now you need to focus on maintaining your new customer. This involves doing everything you can to keep them onboard and make them happy. Use them to generate further business with referrals. You might also be able to up-sell them down the road.
How Can A Sales Cycle Benefit A Sales Team?
There’s plenty of benefits to using a sales cycle in a sales team. The biggest benefit is that it stops you from having to go into each sale blindly by giving you a strict set of actions that you can follow. You’ll always know what you should do next. This brings consistency to sales and to the wider team, making it easier to track the progress of each salesperson and the goals of the company. Some other benefits include:
- Increased conversion rates – The sales process aims to bring consistency to the business and its sales experience. If everyone follows the same process and receives the same success, there will be an improvement in the leads-to-sale conversion rate.
- Identification of trends for improvement – Sales cycles provide data, such as statuses and track metrics, that allow managers or sales leaders to evaluate each stage, pinpoint where improvements can be made and see how well the team is performing against overall goals.
- Improved efficiency – The sales cycle involves many tasks and activities, including researching, prospecting and presenting, that allow sales teams to enhance their skills and avoid redundancy.
- Shorter learning curve for new staff – With a framework of actions to follow, new staff members can quickly learn the process and contribute to the growth of the company by closing sales sooner.
Learn the Sales Cycle with the SWISH Negotiation Ladder
The backbone of the SWISH Online Academy is the Negotiation Ladder – a deceptively simple ten-step technique that refines the efficiency of the sales process by understanding where you are in that process. These are critical skills for business owners, entrepreneurs and salespeople alike to get the most out of any sales transaction – not just for themselves but for their customers as well.
The Negotiation Ladder is explored in more detail in the SWISH Academy, as well as practical examples for incorporating it into your sales process.
Improve Your Sales With SWISH Sales Coaching
When it comes to SWISH Sales Coaching, explaining the sales cycle is just the beginning! Our comprehensive SWISH Sales Academy course can take you through every step of the process and beyond with ethical and on-demand sales techniques to help you improve your sales and your career. Learn from SWISH experts with lectures, templates, weekly sessions, webinars, assessments and so much more.
Take your sales efforts to the next level and read about our proven sales training, sales coaching, and sales courses. No matter if you are located in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast or anywhere in the world, we are able to assist in providing the most innovative ethical sales training. Get started today with the SWISH Sales Academy – contact us on 07 5531 6485 or join our sales training Facebook group.